A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
The report looked at the number of teachers in each of the city’s 1,509 general education schools who received “unsatisfactory” ratings from their principals.
The so-called “U-ratings,” which are based on formal classroom observations and used in tenure decisions, are very rare, with only 3% of the city’s 65,000 general education teachers receiving failing grades last year.
Nearly half of the city’s schools had no U-rated teachers at all.
Yet U-rated teachers were concentrated in certain schools, particularly in struggling neighborhoods of central Brooklyn, the South Bronx, southern Queens and lower Manhattan.
At a stunning 30 schools, 20% of teachers had unsatisfactory ratings.
Two schools had lemons in at least a third of their classrooms.
But teachers and parents say U-ratings aren’t just about teacher quality. They’re also a reflection on how aggressive principals are in pushing out teachers they don’t like.
Parents at Public School 4 in the Bronx suspected tough management led to 34% of instructors getting U-ratings last year.
“If the principal is rating the teachers, who’s rating him?” asked Anthony Patterson, 52, whose daughter, Tajanae, is a sixth-grader at the A-rated school. “I’ve never had an issue with the teachers.
The report on teacher quality advises the city to adopt a new teacher evaluation system and find new ways to attract high-quality instructors.
It comes a day after Gov. Cuomo used his State of the State speech in Albany to call for bar exam-style tests to keep bad teachers out of public schools as the city battles the teachers union over new teacher evaluations.
If the union and the city fail to reach an agreement on a new teacher rating system by Jan. 17, the state will withhold $250 million in funding.
Education Department officials said they are already working to implement the recommendations of the report.
“Having a great teacher is critical to our students’ success, which is why we have pursued many of these recommendations,” said agency spokeswoman Connie Pankratz.